Sunday, 6 April 2008
Conquering two Bukits
While little Rusty was snoozing away all Sunday morning, I was out in the sun, conquering the two bukits (hills) I know so well. Now that I have less time for running during the week, I try to make my Sunday workouts more intensive.
I ran to Bukit Batok nature reserve which was developed on an abandoned quarry site with undulating terrain and meandering footpaths. This used to be a sleepy rural area with forest, farm lands and factories. Granite quarrying was among the early activities there since the 1950s. Bukit Batok in Malay means "Coughing Hills" as the blasting made the hills appear to be coughing.
I found some beautiful wildflowers in the nature reserve.
After 30 minutes at the park, I made my way to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, a 164ha rainforest which also includes Singapore's highest hill (163m).
'Timah' means 'tin' in Malay but the area was never a tin-producing one. It was better known to early colonials as a tiger-infested area which few dared to visit. The hill was once an active quarrying site in the mid-1900s.
Today there are no tigers but the sprawling area is home to more than 840 flowering plants including towering trees, rattans, ferns, orchids, gingers and Bat lily. The forest has over 500 species of animals including the Long-tailed Macaques or monkeys, Flying lemur (Colugo) and squirrels. Forest birds include the Striped tit-babbler, the Fairy bluebird, drongos and bulbuls.
The Bukit Timah Hill entrance was still crowded when I arrived at 11.30am. I took the staired Summit Path to the top of the Reserve which was a steep climb that left me breathless and sweaty by the time I reached the peak.
The macaques are very bold around here.
The afternoon sun was beating down on me when I left Bukit Timah Hill at 12.30pm. I went back to Bukit Batok Hill across the road. As I trudged through trails in the humid rainforest, my legs sore from the hours of walking, I heard a sound roaring towards me. It was the sound of heavy raindrops! I sprinted across the park and found refuge in a shelter just before the rain came pelting down heavily on the hot concrete pavement.
I stood there watching the rain for about 15 minutes. Soon the sky cleared and steam was rising off the ground. I walked out of the park, like a sweaty bride marching down a smoke-filled wedding aisle.
When I got home, I started preparing curry, kiam chye (preserved vegetable) duck soup and ngoh hiang (meat rolls) for dinner. The dishes turned out well. Mother Hen loved the curry and duck soup, her hubby loved the Tiger beer and CH loved everything. I just love having everyone over!